Rock of ages

U of C founder John D. Rockefeller gave the University $1.5 million to build a chapel, which he envisioned in a December 13, 1910, letter as “the central and dominant feature of the University group,” evoking “the spirit of religion.” By all accounts, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel—named for its benefactor in 1937—still fits the bill in both form and function.

Rockefeller’s letter of bequest is one of about 110 archival documents and photographs in a 75-year anniversary exhibit, Life of the Spirit, Life of the Mind, at Regenstein Library’s Special Collections Research Center through June 18.

Sketches and photographs of the chapel’s windows and 72-bell carillon, both among the world’s largest, testify to its grandeur of design. Meanwhile, flyers and programs from concerts, lectures, and protests—most recently against the Iraq war—reveal Rockefeller’s diverse role in campus life.


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March 10, 2004